Over the space of about 3 hours, I have noticed a few questions getting unexplained down votes. The questions are unrelated and have valid queries, but for some reason they have been down voted. To me this seems odd, like some one trying to hide their efforts by appearing random, and not explaining the down vote so as to remain anonymous. (Probably just overthinking it.)

So what purpose is this trying to achieve? Is there a reason for not leaving a reason? If you think a question is worth the down vote, should you not provide a reason why? Believe it or not when people ask a question, they (generally) believe the question is valid and contains all necessary information for a question. At least this is my point of view when I ask questions.

Here are some of the questions I am referring to

  • 2
    Take a look at the tooltip for the down arrow: "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful". Votes, up AND down, are the bread and butter of the SE system. They allow designations of quality. To some people, these aren't good questions, regardless of whether or not the asker thought they were. – Frank Jun 11 '14 at 13:10

The question doesn't even have punctuation. Probably downvoted for its low quality.

Many people dislike lore questions, but that's just a guess for the reason.

That question doesn't have enough information to tell what's wrong.


If you want I can explain my downvote here: The topic itself is discussed a lot on the meta of every SE site. This means you didn't really do a lot of research on the topic and while I'm not a big fan too harsh criticism (downvoting if there is one small thing that could be better) I do understand why there are people that think like that.

Also you could request an explanation for every upvote aswell... now that would be silly, wouldn't it? Downvotes are not a bad thing. Sure nobody likes to get downvoted but downvotes are a thing that keeps the SE system running.

Up and Downvotes in general are meant to show whether or not it's a "good question" or a "good answer" and "good" is really a thing of personal interpretation.

Lets bring up Minecraft as an example: How do I craft an Axe?

Now If I see a question like this I might not downvote it because I don't really think it's a bad question. It's something that a lot of new Minecraft players want to know. But I do get the people that think it's something that everyone has to know (even I do and I don't play minecraft) or that just think "We're not Google". These could be 2 reasons to downvote.

Also "mindless downvoting" (let's just call it mindless) isn't as dangerous as "mindless upvoting". There are a lot of people that just throw upvotes around as if they were Facebook likes. The problem is: If you mindlessly upvote questions, privileges are granted to users that aren't even meant to have them. If you just downvote a lot you can't really do too much damage (1 UV on an answer requires 5 DV to go back to 0 rep again). I think you don't really have to explain every downvote if you don't have to explain every upvote. Sure it's nice to have an explanation but it's not necessary.

Try to look at these "mindless downvotes" from a completely neutral perspective Look at everything that could be good or bad in the question or answer. If you find at least something that's good/bad you can be sure that it's a reason for some people to Upvote/Downvote. Also if you're getting downvoted "randomly" do the same thing and think about what could be bad in your post. Your question/answer Quality will most likely improve.

  • I'm not trying to say that down voting is a bad thing. It is constructive, as you said. The issue I find is that without leaving a message it appears odd, and sometimes unjustified at first glance (in some cases). Without a reason or suggestion on how to improve the question, to me it just appears rude. – Ben Jun 11 '14 at 15:59
  • You can use this question as an example. -6 but with some explanation. Totally fine with that. I know why this question deserves the criticism. – Ben Jun 11 '14 at 16:01
  • 1
    @Ben And as has been mentioned, downvotes are not personal. You may perceive downvotes as rude, but nowhere is voting being done against the person. If you're taking it personally (and by viewing it as rude, that's exactly what you're doing), then you need to change your viewpoint. Voting on content quality is inherently not rude. – Frank Jun 11 '14 at 16:17
  • While yes, I see your point, 'rude' May have been a bad choice. 'Irritating' May have been better. But that's what I love about this community. It's critical and realistic, not judgmental. – Ben Jun 11 '14 at 17:15

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